Who’s Who at The Hip-Hop Institute



As the first event to kickoff the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, The Hip-Hop Institute serves as a means to educate, inspire and leave you with gems of knowledge, from radio personalities that keep us informed and play the hottest music out, to the journalists who give us the cold hard facts, all the way down to the entrepreneurs on the business side. No matter what side, all of these play a major role in what Hip-Hop is today. Even the topics that aren’t necessarily talked about often, like the state of mental and physical health in Hip-Hop, are a part of the culture whether good, bad or ugly.


DeRay McKesson

This year’s Keynote speaker is advocate, educator and activist DeRay Mckesson. Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, DeRay uses his platform as a voice to challenge the systematic errors that have greatly affected black lives as well as other minorities. As one of the leading voices for Black Lives Matter, he was named one of the 50 World’s Greatest Leaders for 2015 by Fortune Magazine.


The State of Hip-Hop Journalism is a roundtable discussion with some of the most insightful yet critical minds in Hip-Hop. Talks about the current state of Hip-Hop journalism in the digital age, and tips for all the aspiring writers out there. This panel features Jinx, Kaz and Julian Mitchell.

Brandon “Jinx” Jenkins is an Editorial Producer at Complex Media. A Morehouse grad with a degree in Business Marketing, Jinx also previously served as the Content and Programs Manager at Mass Appeal Magazine.

Kazeem “Kaz” Famuyide is a former editor of TheSource.com and Senior Editor at Hip-Hop Wired. He currently has an online site called TheStashed.com. Kaz is also a regular on MTV2’s Uncommon Sense with Charlamagne Tha God. Kay has been featured on Revolt TV, BET, VH1 and Complex.
Julian Mitchell is an award-winning brand marketer, instructor and multimedia buff. He’s currently a contributor for The Huffington Post and Forbes Magazine. Julian has previously worked with Sean “Diddy” Combs to launch Revolt TV and as a Digital Content Creator for Quantasy.

Health Triangle

This year’s Mental and Physical Health panel was inspired by the likes of Chris Lighty, Capital STEEZ, Sean Price and Phife Dawg. Our panel of experts will address the current and future state of our behavioral, mental and physical health as applied to the standard of living of  the Hip Hop community and its enthusiast. Like gun violence, the overwhelming reports of disability and death amongst the Hip Hop population has deemed this check up to check in with the who, what, where, when , and how to improve our quality of life. This panel will be moderated by Barry Cooper.


Lindsay Fauntleroy is an Acupuncture and Holistic Wellness instructor with extensive training and education which allows her to give 100% into what she does. She is a licensed acupuncturist and certified Essence Flower Therapist, Alchemical Transformation Coach and a certified yoga alliance Yoga Instructor. Lindsay was drawn to the healing arts while on her own fertility journey. For over 15 years, she studied and practiced healing arts which include meditation, yoga and the practicing of both the I Ching and Qi Gong techniques.


Dr. Naeema Burgess is the CEO and Founder of Giving Hope, founded in 2011. Giving Hope was created as a goal to lead people to a lifestyle of freedom in a number of ways that include health, mental, behavioral, financial, spiritual and psychological. It is also set to help families of children with autism, behavior challenges and developmental delays to better support their needs. Dr. Burgess gives psychological evaluations to support children academically along with helping them get healthy. She achieves this by building a healthy support system with the family, clean eating and exercising. Her goal is for families to have complete freedom while being healthy both inside and out.


Dr. Michael A. Lindsay is an Assistant Professor at NYU’s Silver School of Social Work. He specializes in child & adolescent mental health research, and is particularly interested in the need for mental health attention for vulnerable youth with serious psychiatric illnesses. Dr. Lindsay has also received support from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to examine social network influences and actual barriers to get mental health care for African American men with depression. His published research has appeared in the American Men’s Journal of Health, Journal of Adolescent Health and the Journalism of Black Psychology just to name a few.


Craig Baylis’ career began as a performer, where he toured the world with the biggest names in music, appeared in various music videos, commercials and television shows. Satisfying his dreams in front of the scenes led to his desire to join the industry behind the scenes, specifically the music industry. In between transitions from creative to corporate tenure, Craig returned to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he attended Southern University and A&M College and received his B.A. in Mass Communications. With over a decade in the music business, he’s worked in radio promotions, artist development, tour marketing and product management at Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. Craig spearheads the Recording Artist Outreach and Music Industry Relations at SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) in the national organizing department. SAG-AFTRA is the only organization in the music industry that represents recording artists signed to 600+ record labels across the entertainment sector, including Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music Group.


Valerie Thomas, MS, RD, CDN is a Registered Dietitian with a Bachelor of Science Degree from Cheney University and a Masters Degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. Valerie has been working at the New York Harbor Health Care Veterans Administration for 30 years. A nutrition expert, providing optimum nutrition care and educating Veterans in making behavioral and lifestyle changes. Valerie has served as a preceptor for James Peter VA Medical Center dietetic internship for 8 years. Valerie has passion for an active lifestyle and healthy eating. Along with her clinical nutrition education and experience, she provides nutrition advice to athletes, helping them find wellness through balancing nutrition and making healthy lifestyle changes. Valerie is a member of the American Academy of Dietetics and Greater New York Dietetic Association.


Dion Michael Ashman is founder and CEO of GET READY FOR PRIMETIME FITNESS, a multi-faceted training program that utilizes natural strength training to assist your

mind and body in reaching your specific maximum potential. His mantra: “Tweak your mind

and your body will follow” has been used for the body, mind and spirit to create his current body composition. His programming is a fusion of many aspects of strength training coupled by mental and spiritual wellness techniques. This program is set to broaden your psychological view of your body and lifestyle to have you yearning for wellness. Real People, Real Commitment, Real Health Issues and Real Results is what the F.I.T. (Focused, Interval, Training) lifestyle is all about.


Jimmy Brown is the founder of Street Loyalty Ent. / Broken Hearts (Awaiting Heart Transplant / 100% blockage in LAD .heart working at 15%).



The Sneaker Business is our sneaker panel sponsored from Ewing Athletics. Here you’ll learn the tricks of the trade in the sneaker business. From consignment to all the latest in sneaker news, it’s unlikely that you will leave without learning a thing. Jason Nelson, Sean Williams and Calvan Fowler head the discussion on the ins and outs of sneaker culture.


Sean “Paper Chasr” Williams is the co-founder of Obsessive Sneaker Disorder (OSD), the first-ever talk show dedicated to sneaker news which was founded in 2007. He created OSD with the intent on covering sneaker news while giving listeners and callers a chance to interact with each other while sharing their love of sneakers. Sean is also the writer and host of “From the Feet Up” sneaker news show. He’s also created SOLEcial Studies, an educational program about footwear training in 2011 and holds classes every year.  With over 30 years of documented work in the footwear industry, it’s safe to say that Sean has no plans of slowing down. Aside from the sneaker business, he’s also a music composer, filmmaker and music business consultant by trade.


Calvan Fowler opened Jordan Heads Brooklyn store in 2014 as a tribute to one of the greatest to ever do it, Michael Jordan. Located in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood, it acts as a tribute to Jordan, complete with vintage posters and rare memorabilia which sets the tone for an MJ experience. What makes this store unique is that it not only exclusively deals with Jordans, but is also a consignment store for them. When not invested in the sneaker business, Calvan serves as the creative force behind Daydream Filmworks. All of his unique visuals and imagery come from actual daydreams that he’s had. Calvan has also worked at Spike Lee’s 40 Acres and a Mule film company and was even Spike’s personal assistant. His work also includes music videos, commercials, movies and most notably, a Michael Jackson music video.


Jason Nelson is the Director of Marketing at Ewing Athletics, created by legendary NBA Hall-of-Famer Patrick Ewing. As the first professional basketball player to have his own sneaker company, they first went into production in 1989. Their first brand of sneakers was the Rebounds, but the first main release was the 33 HI. The 33 HI’s were an instant hit in the United States, and even gained popularity in Europe and Asia. In addition to sneakers, Ewing athletics expanded to selling other basketball shoes, cross trainers, running shoes and hiking boots.


Premium Pete is the creator and brain behind the largest sneaker video sharing network, SneakerTube.tv. A lifestyle, culture and product site for everything sneaker-related, SneakerTube has over 60,000 users who record and upload videos. Premium Pete created this outlet so that people could share their thoughts about all the latest sneaker products. When not working on everything sneakers, he also serves as the co-host for “The Combat Jack Show” and launched the “You Gotta Eat This! food blog with legendary rapper Bun B for Complex Media.
Flower is a Queens, NY native and has been a sneaker lover for about 20 years. She specializes in owning a variety of brands, and she has great knowledge of sneakers. Flower has become one of the most respected female sneaker lovers in the industry through years of previous work, with organizations like Female Sneaker Fiends (FSF) and as a cast member of the OSD (Obsessive Sneaker Disorder) Sneaker Talk show. She was also featured in the only book to ever feature ALL WOMEN sneaker lovers called “Girls Got Kicks”.




Julian Mitchell

The Get Paid To Be Yourself workshop with Julian Mitchell is self-explanatory. Here, Julian will take you through the steps on how to create the career you want, while monetizing your value. This workshop will teach you how to find your audience, use your talents and turn them into sustainable businesses.


Tia Williams, Jen BKLYN and Kim Osorio sit down and discuss what it means to be  Women In Hip-Hop, Business and Culture. These ladies have all made their mark in the industry, and talk about the ups and downs of working in a male-dominated profession. The moderator for this panel is Ebonie Jackson, Director of Finance and Production for the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival.

Tia Williams began as a Beauty Assistant for the teen magazine YM and worked her way up to the likes of Elle, Glamour and Lucky Magazines. She eventually landed a position as the Beauty Director for Teen Vogue. During her time at Teen Vogue, she wrote a novel while on a sabbatical in Spain. That novel became “Accidental Diva” and was released in 2004. The following year, Tia launched shakeyourbeauty.com, one of the first beauty blogs to hit the internet. By 2009, she joined Essence.com as a beauty editor for several years. She has also freelanced for Cosmo.com, InStyle.com, VH1.com, XOJane and Marie Claire. This past spring, Tia published her fourth novel, “The Perfect Find.”

Hot 97’s own Jen from Brooklyn (stylized as Jen BKLYN), always had her eye on the entertainment spectrum from very young. But as she got older, Jen thought that her true passion was for fashion. After two years at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.), she left and began to pursue her ultimate dream – the world of entertainment. Jen began as an intern for Bad Boy Entertainment before landing her current position at Hot 97, where she’s currently the voice of the station’s social media. In addition to being Hot 97’s go-to sports girl, she’s also the Editor-In-Chief and Social Media Manager for Hot97.com. Not to mention she’s also the main host for all of their red carpet interviews. As an entrepreneur, she created JENBKLYN, LLC. where she has plans to build different businesses under that brand.

Kim Osorio is a name that may ring bells to many. She rose to prominence as the first and only female Editor-In-Chief of The Source Magazine after only being with them for two years. She took the magazine to new editorial heights, and it resulted in the highest-selling issue in its history. In 2008, Kim released her memoir, “Straight From The Source: An Exposé From the Former Editor-In-Chief of The Hip-Hop Bible” to tell her side of the story regarding a gender discrimination lawsuit she filed against The Source. Her career soon came full circle in 2012 as she was named the Vice President of Content & Editorial of The NorthStar Group, which owns both The Source and Jones Magazines. She’s also lent her knowledge of music to both BET and GlobalGrind.com.


The Independence in Hip-Hop panel discussion will go in-depth about the role that Independent artists and labels have in the Hip-Hop industry. Sponsored by The US Army, you’ll get a chance to hear from some of the minds that helped create Hip-Hop’s most important brands. Ibrahim Hamad of Dreamville Records, Chris Mooney of TuneCore and Zana Ray, journalist, radio personality and talent manager give some insight on what it’s like to be independent in the Hip-Hop Industry.

Ibrahim “El Presidente” Hamad is the President and co-founder of Dreamville Records. He got his start while attending St. John’s University as a communications major. In 2007, both Ibrahim and a then-unknown J. Cole co-founded Dreamville Records and the two friends soon became business partners. Although the music industry wasn’t exactly his first choice, considering that he had no prior experience. In the meantime, the Queens-native sought to help his friend out and push J. Cole’s first mixtape, The Come Up all over the city. Dreamville didn’t become a reality however until 2012, and by 2014 Ibrahim was able to ink a deal with Interscope. Since then, Dreamville Records was able to add other artists to their roster aside from J. Cole such as signee Bas, Cozz, Omen and the latest two, Lute and Ari Lennox.

A veteran of the music industry, Chris Mooney’s diversified marketing experience has enabled him to develop extraordinary relationships with digital store partners and TuneCore Artists both which are critical to TuneCore’s continued success. Before joining TuneCore in 2012, Chris took on the newly created position as the Director of Strategic Marketing at Sacks & Co., a PR firm in NYC. Among his many successes, Chris was able to engage NPR and create their first-ever live event at SXSW that included showcases and simulcasts on NPR and affiliate stations. The NPR showcase will celebrate its sixth consecutive year at SXSW in 2013. Other artists he worked with include Chris Cornell, Björk, and Pete Francis. Prior to his work at Sacks & Co, Chris held a variety of sales and marketing positions including Director of Sales at SpinArt Records, General Manager at addVice Marketing and music programming for the Tribeca Film Festival. He started his career as the National Sales assistant with Rhino Records.

Zana Ray is a rising media personality that fuses the genuine elements of news and press coverage in a style untapped from any other young journalist. She has worked alongside entertainment moguls such as former co-host of BET’s 106 & Park Free Marie, as well as movie director and syndicated radio personality, Russ Parr. While completing her B.A. at Howard University, she worked tirelessly on her craft. Growing up in Brooklyn, NY exposed her to a mixture of adverse environment. The adverse environment of Brooklyn strengthened her people skills, industry awareness, knowledge of music and culture. She continues to expand her brand, transitioning from working as an overnight personality at New York’s own Hot 97, to managing Kanye West’s newest signee to GOOD Music:  Desiigner.  Zana encouraged Desiigner to finish his “Panda” record and negotiated meetings with interested labels. When it comes to what’s hot, Zana Ray thrives in keeping you in the know.


Take advantage of this rare learning experience from leading figures in the industry and become a gem dropper to your friends and family with all the industry secrets you will leave with from The Hip-Hop Institute!